Robert "Bob" Fisher


Bob Fisher was recruited to the firm in late 2004 to build the firm's nonprofit, education and philanthropy practice. His years in the nonprofit sector, private sector, and government, and his unequaled knowledge of Northern California, promised to make him a unique asset to the firm. For 50 years, Bob has been recruiting for his own organizations and for others. His success is unparalleled in understanding the requirements of a position and identifying leadership to meet an organization's needs.

Bob assumed leadership of The San Francisco Foundation in 1987, undertaking the turnaround and rehabilitation of that venerable institution after it was stripped of its assets in the Buck Trust litigation. Within 18 months, contributions to the Foundation tripled previous annual highs and over the nine years of Bob's leadership, contributions averaged 700% annually over historical averages, totalling about $300 million. Annual grantmaking grew from $7 million to $46 million during those years, and the Foundation was consistently among the top three of more than 400 community foundations nationally in contributions received, new initiatives, national awards, efficiency of administration, and average annual growth.

Bob was honored by the Northern California Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now Association of Fundraising Professionals) as the "Outstanding Fundraising Executive of 1995," a year in which the Foundation attracted $115 million in gifts.

In 1974, Bob became President of John F. Kennedy University, a struggling, unaccredited, new institution representing a pioneering vision for higher education. He relocated the University within 9 months, completed accreditation a year later, and placed the institution on a growth trajectory in which its funding grew twenty-five-fold during his decade of leadership. The University's programs in museum management, career development, professional psychology and other fields - all for mid-career adults pursuing new degrees and careers - garnered national attention.

Bob also served as the executive director of a variety of other nonprofit organizations, ranging from Manhattan's distinguished cultural institution, the 92nd St. Y, with its budget (in today's dollars) of nearly $60 million, to, as Interim Executive Director, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. Since 1956, Bob has served on dozens of nonprofit boards with a specialization in services to the disadvantaged and at-risk. As a volunteer fundraiser and licensed fundraising consultant, Bob led campaigns for organizations as diverse as the Campaign for Harvard College, United Jewish Appeal, United Way, and Suicide Prevention of Alameda County. Bob was a Visiting Scholar, Center on Philanthropy, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, and International Scholar-in-Residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy. He has served in a variety of leadership roles for the Council on Foundations and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In the public sector, Bob spent six years with the British Home Office as Special Assistant to the Chief Psychologist of the British Prison Department. Elected in 1968, Bob served as California's youngest mayor and councilman for eight years in Lafayette, California.

In the private sector, Bob has served as the CEO of a venture capital firm, a marketing firm, a real estate investment trust, and of two real estate development companies. He has served on corporate boards, including that of The Oakland Tribune. He has practiced law, served full-time as a tenure-track professor for six years at the University of California (Berkeley), and is a member of the Minnesota and California bars. He has competed successfully as both amateur and professional at the world championship level in two sports. Bob is a nationally recognized expert on fundraising and charitable giving. His writings and consultancies embrace nonprofit management, executive coaching, crisis intervention, strategic planning, facilities transitions, philanthropy, and organizational and nonprofit board development.

Bob earned his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London), his Juris Doctor from the Harvard Law School, and his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College. He has been honored with three doctorates honoris causa.